LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

The Lions have had little consistency from the nickel cornerback position in recent years.

Bill Bentley, a third-round pick in 2012, was supposed to fill the role, and showed promise in 2013. But the Lions drafted Nevin Lawson in the fourth round last year hoping to provide depth and a long-term option.

Then in Week 1 last season, Bentley tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and missed the season. Lawson filled in, but suffered a season-ending foot injury in Week 2.

Both players expect to be healthy this season, and free safety Glover Quin expects them to be among the young players who help the defense.

This month, the Lions signed 5-foot-9 Josh Wilson as a contingency if Bentley or Lawson can't be productive.

"It's going to be interesting to see how those guys come back and put this year into perspective being that the game has been taken away," Quin said. "Because even though we all play this game, we all love this game, guys sometimes take it for granted because it's what they've been doing all their lives, and they don't really realize how much they love it until it's gone.

"And luckily for them, it wasn't like career over. It was you get to take a year and hopefully learn and develop and do all those things, But now you get to come back with kind of like a second chance and understanding how important the game is to you."

Still, as the Lions turn their attention to the draft, there remains a possibility they will target another speedy cornerback who can play inside because Bentley and Lawson have yet to establish themselves as reliable options.

But whatever the move is, Quin still believes in his teammates.

"I think Bill is a special, special player," Quin said. "(And) I think Nevin can be a special player."

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/jkatzenstein

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE